Lenny is out of town with family, so I’m home alone. Since we won’t be doing our annual Yosemite trip, i’ve still got the itch to do a hike. It’s been a few years since i’ve done a Solo overnight, so I planned out a decent one to the local Mt San Jacinto peak/wilderness.
After reviewing options, i elected to do the Devil’s Slide Trail leaving Humber Park to the summit, planning to stay at Round Valley, summit the next day and then come back down. I arrived late on Thursday afternoon in Idylwild, got my permits (Ranger said only 1 other group of 3 out there – nice weekday trek ) and headed out . . . though to a very late start (had to hit REI on way up, due to missing hiking poles and some other small gear) – Late = good for the weather (it was still sunny/hot even at 4pm) but BAD for thinking i could make the 6.1 miles before dark. (Yea . . right.)
The first portion of Devil’s slide trail is pretty strenuous (Humber Park to Saddle Jct.), especially with a pretty full pack (I came with mostly my duo stuff since i don’t have alot of solo stuff . . . yet – tent, cook stuffs, etc. . . (guess what’s on my xmas list this year?)) In fact, it wasn’t until i got up to the top of the first trail that i realized that it was probably similar to Marion.
Later calculations proved right – according to my maps, Marion is 2.8 miles at 1840 ft climb, for a elevation of 657 ft/mile. THe first part of Devil’s slide trail is 2.5 miles to 1620 ft or 648 ft/mile. So, the first 2.5-3 miles are pretty close. I think there is only one (1) short trek (maybe 100 yds) of level or descent – everything else is UP! Made me then wonder where the name “Devil’s Slide Trail” came from.
Due to the slow pace, and lack of daylight I stopped at the Strawberry Trail Junction at 9000 ft. Just east of the junction, behind some large rock/tree, is a great open ridge that overlooks Palm Springs, along with a few camp sites. No water, but the spot was great.
I stayed there for the night. Was worried about water as there is none nearby, and i wasn’t sure if Wellman was still running, so i conserved a bit for the night/breakfast. I started with 3L and left the next morning (after the hike, dinner and breakfast) with about 18oz. I figured if i didn’t find any at Wellman, i’d just cut things short and get back down. But, I had a warm dinner and hot coffee the next mornig thanks to my new JetBoil personal cook system – that thing ROCKS!
The night was cool, as it was just 1 day from the full moon. There was even some sprinkles on a few occassions. Morning came and had breakfast, and packed up. Was a beautiful sunrise.
I packed a day pack for the continuation to the summitt, and left my main pack stashed in the area. Wellman ‘was’ still running, so I refilled my 3L worth and was relieved. Made it to the peak about 11am and weather was gorgeous. Had lunch and returned, came back down, got my pack and finished back down.
It was when i put my pack back on that I SWORE for new, lighter gear for future solo trips . . it seemed double what I started with I actaully swore myself when lifting that thing back on. Overall, a great trip and i plan to return to SJP someday soon, via other trails too.